IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis Summary

Significant progress has been made since the TAR in exploring ensemble approaches to provide uncertainty ranges and probabilities for global and regional climate change. Different methods show consistency in some aspects of their results, but differ significantly in others (see Box 10.2; Figures 10.28 and 10.30), because they depend to varying degrees on the nature and use of observational constraints, the nature and design of model ensembles and the specification of prior distributions for uncertain inputs (see, e.g., Table 11.3). A preferred method cannot yet be recommended, but the assumptions and limitations underlying the various approaches, and the sensitivity of the results to them, should be communicated to users. A good example concerns the treatment of model error in Bayesian methods, the uncertainty in which affects the calculation of the likelihood of different model versions, but is difficult to specify (Rougier, 2007). Awareness of this issue is growing in the field of climate prediction (Annan et al., 2005b; Knutti et al., 2006), however, it is yet to be thoroughly addressed. Probabilistic depictions, particularly at the regional level, are new to climate change science and are being facilitated by the recently available multi-model ensembles. These are discussed further in Section 11.10.2.